Liz Jones joined her mother Fran Flanagan as a partner of Fran Flanagan Group about a year and a half ago, but her experience in the world of real estate began when she was in a car seat. The Palisadian-Post checked in with the two to see what it’s like working together and where they go from here.
Post: Fran, your daughter recently joined your team—could you tell us a bit about that experience?
Fran: There are stories in every family that you tell over and over and over again, and the one in our family is how Liz started looking at open houses when she was in a car seat. She grew up in the Palisades but she also grew up in real estate. So by the time she converted to—or I convinced her to come and work with me—she already had a lot of the vocabulary, a lot of the instincts that have made her so good.
When Liz joined, we used that as an opportunity to really reboot. We became Fran Flanagan Group, hired a new social media consultant, a terrific back office assistant and a third agent, Jill Newhouse Calcaterra, a long-time trusted family friend, who extended our coverage to Brentwood. We packed our bags and moved to Compass, and have never looked back.
I’ve trained a million agents and Liz just has it, she’s a natural. Very few new agents actually make it in the business. Liz has the work habits, she has the discipline, she’s got the sensibility. People are drawn to her, I’m proud of that. We work hard and we’re doing very well.
Post: Liz, what led you to a career in real estate? What has it been like to work alongside your mother?
Liz: I’m so lucky to have grown up in the real estate community because of my mom managing the local offices. I knew—and I know—a lot of the big agents, so I already have a comfort level with so many agents because I’ve known them my whole life.
I spent the past two decades working in entertainment marketing, running digital marketing at studios. I love entertainment and I loved what I was doing, but I was just ready for a change and this was something always in the back of my head—my mom’s been trying to get me to work with her forever and it just finally made sense.
My girls are currently in 11th grade and eighth grade—I wanted to be more focused on our community and closer to home. I still work 24/7 but I’m at least able to do a lot of it on my own schedule, allowing me flexibility to attend volleyball games at Pali or other events at my daughters’ schools.
Post: Do you both represent homes in all neighborhoods of the Palisades?
Liz: Yes of course! We know this area so well—like the back of our hands—we know everything about it. It’s really easy for us in Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Santa Monica, we know these areas front and back. I grew up in Rustic Canyon, lived up Mandeville Canyon in high school and went to Brentwood School, spent many years living in Santa Monica before I married and moved with my husband to our current home in the Palisades.
Post: What piece of advice would you give to someone buying a home for the first time?
Fran: Get your ducks in a row. A lot of work happens before you even get started. Get pre-qualified, get your credit rating up, get your taxes filed. Do the work that you need to do to get ready to go because when you see the house you want, you have to be unfettered, you have to be ready to go.
There’s a ton of information on the internet but a good agent turns it into knowledge—we help buyers develop the confidence they need to go quickly and easily into their next home.
Post: What neighborhood would you suggest for first-time parents to buy a home?
Liz: For first time parents, I’m partial to anywhere that you can walk into town and to our amazing park, whether that be the Alphabets or the Huntington or down Via. When you have babies, you just want to take that stroller out the door and have access to our community. And here in the Palisades, we have the best community.
Post: What neighborhood do you live in and why?
Fran: I live in the Riviera. I have a beautiful old house and I’ve lived in it for a long time and I just love it. It is filled with early California art, books and all things for entertaining. Over the years, we have hosted a ton of parties, large and small, and my home is the centerpiece for family celebrations and holidays.
Liz bought her house on Hartzell, which is right in the Village, right in the Alphabets, in 2001 and she’s still there, so that says a lot. Her home is the Fourth of July party house.
Liz: The Alphabets have been our home for over 20 years. We love it because we can walk right out our door and into town. Our neighborhood is very central—easy access to all sides of the Palisades. Plus when the kids were little, we could walk to the park, and now that the kids are older they can walk into town and meet their friends at Garden Cafe or the Caruso Village.
Post: What is next? How will the coronavirus shape real estate to come?
Liz: We were just looking at the way certain search trends have changed while people have been sheltering in place. Searches for pools have tripled since we’ve all been home. Searches for outdoor space have doubled. Buyers are searching for homes with more square footage. We’re looking at homes in a completely different way than we did three months ago.
Fran: I just want to say that one of the things that a 40-year career does for you is it gives perspective. Experience teaches that a cycle is a cycle. You have to learn data, sales, days on market so that you know when it changes.
A good agent knows the market so well that you can see when values are particularly good for certain homes and lean your buyers in that direction. A good agent knows the market so well that you can help your sellers price aggressively to effect a sale.
Circling back to your original question about the current coronavirus situation, we need to remember that we have endured many other challenging times before in real estate. We’ve had earthquakes—how do you sell a house the day after an earthquake? We had the 1987 drop in the stock market and the aftermath. We had the financial crisis of 2008, we had 9/11—none quite as difficult as the current situation, but still feeling like the end of the world at that time. A crisis shakes things up for sure, but nevertheless I am optimistic and confident that our Palisades market will retain its desirability and value moving forward.
Post: Tell us a bit about what you do outside of work.
Liz: Currently quarantining at home with my family. I have a junior at Pali High and an eighth grader at St. Matthew’s. I am currently transitioning to become the president of the Westside Chapter of National Charity League Inc.—working alongside moms and daughters across the Westside of LA serving our community philanthropy partners and teaching our daughters leadership skills. My husband and I are both active members at St. Matthew’s Church, and we can usually be found on the sidelines of a volleyball game somewhere across Los Angeles with both of our daughters.
Fran: I’m a trustee at St. John’s and I am very committed to that. I also am a real theatre person and an opera person. I do a lot of that and look forward to being able to start going again.
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